Major birding weekend ahead
Migration alert! Normally this column runs every two weeks, but a lot is happening out there as spring arrives — so I’m rushing you this quick update. Here’s the story for arriving birds this weekend.
Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are coming into our area. Early-arriving males were noted in New Bern in the last few days, so hang your feeders today, as some are probably here by the time this column appears.
A wave of Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers is here now. Several were heard and seen in Washington’s Oakdale Cemetery Friday morning. Hear their typical calls at a website such as “All About Birds,” (www.allaboutbirds.org), then listen in your yard to find these little birds that look like miniature mockingbirds.
High alert for a “bird fallout”! Weather conditions Thursday and Friday had strong winds out of the south, with thunderstorms forecast for Saturday and possibly Sunday. This weather combination will bring a lot of birds!
Early-spring migrants will have taken advantage of those southerly tailwinds to make their big move, flying high in the middle of the night, and landing by dawn. Then the severe weather this weekend is likely to force them down to forage and rest for a day or three before they continue their big journey.
This weekend therefore is a great opportunity to watch and listen for a wave of new species in your yard or favorite hotspot. Sunday morning you may hear and see a new batch of birds in your vicinity.
Yellow-Throated Warblers may arrive in this early wave. Parula Warblers are also very likely. Both have been spotted in surrounding counties in the last few days. Also likely, and seen yesterday at River Park North in Greenville, are Common Yellowthroats.
White-Eyed Vireos have been seen Friday to our south in Onslow County, so they will be coming in this wave, too. This is the “R2D2” bird and you will understand why if you listen to their song at the website mentioned above.
I’m planning to hit my favorite hotspots both these weekend mornings, hoping for a migration fallout worth the early wake-up!
Betsy Kane is a Washington resident who enjoys the outdoors.